By: Lisa Smith on February 26th, 2020

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Review of Rethinking HR: The Future of Work & Human Resources

Business Management & Strategy

On Friday, February 7, 2020, Helios continued its tradition of leadership development where senior HR and recruiting professionals come together alongside their business leaders to strategize on business growth at the Human Capital Impact Forum (HCIF). The topic for this first session was “Rethinking HR: The Future of Work and Human Resources". Ryan Estis, a keynote speaker and leadership expert, started the session with a simple thought to attendees:

“There is not a better time than now to be in the practice of working with people.”

- Ryan Estis

Ryan continued to say HR has a unique presence and because of that, we have the prime opportunity to reinvent the function to have a greater impact on the business.

If HR is to rule the world, there needs to be a shift.

Foundationally, HR must 1) understand the business strategy, 2) define the HR strategy and 3) identify the primary performance drivers.

Ryan gave the audience two questions for group discussion that I loved:

  • What would you 'blow up' that is no longer working for your department or business?
  • What gets in your way of being 'future-makers?'

Ryan encouraged the attendees to be an agent of change and initiate continuous reinventions. Also known as 'future makers', this type of leader maintains the discipline to continue reinventing and evolve. They are a life-long learner and exhibit a high amount of action orientation to use immediately and initiate change.

Ryan used his client, Adobe, as an example of an organization that is led by a future-maker who reinvented HR. The HR leader rebranded HR from "Human Resources" to "People Resources" and took a risk to 'blow up' a standard HR practice to find a better solution. Adobe conducted data analysis and found over 80,000 labor hours were used to deliver their performance management process which equated to 30 FTEs. Adobe did away with its old system and adopted a new approach that created a greater return to the business. To summarize, effective performance management can be achieved with the following:

  1. Align expectations and get buy-in
  2. Provide consistent feedback (check-in periodically – every 30 days)
  3. Hold people accountable (challenge leadership to go first)

A quick raise of hands showed the majority of audience members still use a traditional form of performance management, even though studies show performance reviews are no longer delivering value. Ryan encouraged the leaders in the room to use this example as a reminder to assess what is working and what is not working in their businesses.

Ryan next presented the following "Top 3 Drivers of Engagement" as a self-reflection exercise for HR leaders when rethinking their role and the function differently:

  1. I have confidence in leadership
  2. I can grow and develop
  3. I have confidence in the future of my organization

Ryan shared success is incremental and responds with intention. The leader must assert him/herself in the business and the ownness for success is on the HR leader.  

He challenged the group to: "decide how you show up" and "win the morning, win the day". Overall, be a culture champion, set your intentions, practice gratitude, and contribute to something bigger than yourself. Ryan also gave us his self-assessment exercise he performs every evening as a measure of success:

  1. Who did I impact today?
  2. How will I be remembered for the people I work

Additionally, Ryan encouraged us to focus on a TAN (Take Act Now) Plan for impact in the next 30 days and challenged the group to establish three BHAG (Big, Hairy, and Audacious Goals) for 2020.

After a morning full of inspiration and motivation, Ryan concluded his session saying, "leadership isn’t a job, but a responsibility. HR is the catalyst to become change agents and you don’t need to wait to leave a legacy, you can do it now. "